Shuffleboard was also popular in the early American colonies. Bridget Bishop was the first of nineteen people executed for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. She was somewhat disreputable as she operated taverns which had frivolous games like shuffleboard. So, clearly shuffleboard was well known in England and America from before and after the founding of the Maryland colony. It is not surprising that Cecil Calvert would participate in what was then a relatively popular game. Most importantly, Charles seems to have found a gift his father appreciated.

Silas Hurry, Curator of Collections and Archaeological Lab Director shares more details about gaming.

 "The Courtyard of an Inn with a Game of Shuffleboard" Adriaen van Ostade, 1677

“The Courtyard of an Inn with a Game of Shuffleboard” Adriaen van Ostade, 1677

“In 1672, Charles Calvert wrote to his father, Cecil Calvert the Lord Baltimore that he was sending him a gift. “I doe Intend to send yor Lopp … as much Planke of Blacke Wallnutt as will make a Shouell Board Table, 30 foot Longe with stuffe of the same wood for a frame which I shall present yor Lopp with.” About a year later in another letter to his father, Charles was “very glad to understand from yor Lopp the Blackwallnut planke has made so noble a shovell board Table.”

While we tend to think of shuffleboard as a geriatric activity undertaken deck side or perhaps a game one sees in a bar, it has a long history in Europe even before the Maryland colony is formed. If one can believe “the Google,” shuffle board was widespread enough that Henry VIII actually regulated it, banning commoners from playing the game. Henry apparently also lost money while gambling on the game so that there is a reference of royal expenses for 1532 which shows a payment from the Privy Purse of £9, “Paied to my lord Wylliam for that he wanne of the kinges grace at shovillaborde.” Shuffleboard also shows up in Samuel Pepys’ diary of April 5, 1665 – “at Hackney, did there eat some pullets we carried with us, and some things of the house; and after a game or two at shuffle-board, home”